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During this past holiday season, I hosted a Holiday Brunch for three of my closest girlfriends.pandoro french toast (18)

I wanted to keep it simple and make something ahead of time, something that would stay warm in the oven until my guests arrived so I didn’t have to “actually cook” when they came.pandoro french toast (5)

French Toast worked out pretty well especially since everyone showed up at different times.  Sigh. pandoro french toast (6)

And since it was the holiday season, I decided to use an Italian bread instead of the usual brioche or challah.  pandoro french toast (11)

For my Brunch, I opted for Pandoro Bread which is slightly sweet, light, and airy, but you can easily substitute Panetonne Bread with candied orange, just as delicious.pandoro french toast (13)

My inspiration for this recipe comes to you from the ever so gorgeous Giada De Laurentis, however I made a few adjustments to tone down the fat… I used 1 less egg, I used half and half instead of heavy whipping cream, I used 2% Reduced-Fat Milk instead of Whole Milk, I used less sugar, and I skipped the Mascarpone Cheese altogether.  pandoro french toast (14)

I also added some orange zest, vanilla, and ground cinnamon to further enhance the flavors of this scrumptious French Toast.pandoro french toast (19)

This Pandoro French Toast turned out phenomenal, and my friends would most definitely agree.  pandoro french toast (22)

Perfect for Sunday Brunch, but since we are in the New Year, this recipe will be one of the last “unhealthy” recipes I will post for a while.  Enjoy!pandoro french toast (20)

NUTRITION: Eggs are a very good source of Vitamin B2, and are a good source Protein and Vitamin D, although the yolks do contain a lot of cholesterol, the yolk also contains tons of nutrients that are good for you.  Milk is an excellent source of Protein and Calcium.  Maple Syrup is a much healthier alternative to sugar since a little bit goes a long way. 
* for a healthier alternative, substitute 2% Reduced-Fat Milk for half and half, use 100% whole wheat bread instead of Pandoro Bread, but then it won’t be as yummy. 

INGREDIENTS (makes 8 pieces of French Toast):
recipe originally from Giada De Laurentis heavily modified below.

for the batter:

  • Organic Eggs – 5
  • Organic Half and Half – 3/4 cup
  • Organic Milk 2% Reduced-Fat – 3/4 cup
  • Turbinado Brown Sugar in the Raw – 3 tbsp
  • Pure Vanilla – 1 tsp
  • Orange Zest – 1 tsp
  • Ground Cinnamon – 1/4 tsp

for cooking:

  • Pandoro Bread – 1 lb. 8.7 oz.  (slice 8 slices horizontally about 3/4 inch thick, you will have leftover bread)
  • Unsalted Butter – 1 tsp per 2 slices  (glaze about 1 tsp of butter and cook 2 slices of French Toast)

for garnish:

  • Powdered Sugar – just a dusting
  • 100% Pure Maple Syrup – just a drizzle

1. Start by cracking 5 eggs into a rectangular baking tray so you can easily dip the bread.
2. Add half and half, milk, brown sugar in the raw, vanilla, orange zest, and ground cinnamon. 
3. Whisk well.
4. Next, get your Pandoro bread, again, Panetonne would work beautifully too.  Both breads can be found at any major grocery store during and after the holidays.
5. Slice the bread horizontally into 3/4 inch slices.  Certain slices will be large, so you can slice those in half.  You want 8 pieces of bread total.
6. Heat up a cast-iron skillet on low-medium heat (dial #4), once hot, add a teaspoon of butter.pandoro french toast (36)
7. Dip 2 slices of bread into the batter, about 3 seconds on each side. 
8. Add both slices of bread to the skillet.
9. Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
10. Once done, serve immediately, or set aside on a baking tray.
11. I cooked my French Toast ahead of time and then placed them in a 250 degree oven so they stayed warm until my guests arrived.  Works really well.
12. Once you are ready to serve, sprinkle powdered sugar and drizzle a little maple syrup.  BEST FRENCH TOAST, EVER!pandoro french toast (25)

TELL ME: Do you ever host brunch?  If so, what is your go to recipe that gives you a chance to hang out with your friends instead of cooking?

Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.

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  1. Love the shape of that bread loaf! So pretty. Your substitutions sound perfect (glad you didn't cut out ALL the good stuff!) and this looks seriously amazing- my favorite moist, doughy french toast 🙂

    1. Thanks Amy. I added some good stuff, but didn't think you really need mascarpone when you have half and half. It's amazing, and so moist!

    1. This is definitely a rich version of French Toast. It's heavenly! Totally a once or twice a year kind of thing. 🙂 Thanks Cathleen.

  2. This french toast sounds heavenly! I bet you and your girlfriends had a great time. I love that you are able to make this ahead of time and keep it warm in the oven until ready to eat! 🙂

    1. Thanks Christina. My girls and I did have a great time. 🙂 Oh yeah, when I entertain, I always try and pick recipes where I can l do the work ahead of time so I can actually hangout. 🙂

  3. a wonderful twist on french toast….we can imagine how pleasantly happy your guests would have been with this lush,tender and utterly rich treat….great way with pandoro…a must try,thanks for sharing 🙂